The Road – review
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce
Director: John Hillcoat
Based on the Novel “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy
Running time: 111 minutes (R)
“The Road” is a post-apocalyptic drama centered around the trials and tribulations of a father son duo.
The world has come to a grinding halt as a result of “apocalypse”, which is never explained in the film but generally everything is falling apart, literally and figuratively. The man and the son, whose names are never revealed throughout the movie, are making their way towards warmer climes to escape the seemingly sordid situation of a nuclear winter.
Along the way they scavenge the earth they walk on for food, shelter and clothing. Along the way they also meet a few people, half of whom have sunk into the depths of moral depravity and have resorted to a life of cannibalism for lack of other options.
The film generally isn’t gruesome or bloody but it is poignant. The man is a father who is flawed and carries a gun around with two bullets: one for his son and one for him when the time is right.
The man does die in the end, presumably from a debilitating bout of tuberculosis compounded by exhaustion, desperation and complete hopelessness. In his death he leaves the boy to fend for himself.
The complete bleakness of the film was accentuated by the dreary atmosphere and maudlin background score. This film isn’t for the faint of heart, such as myself, who would prefer comedies or generally films in a lighter vein.
Perhaps, “the stranger”, played by the generally vivacious Guy Pearce, at the end of the movie, who takes the boy in after the death of “the man” was the deus ex machina designed for people like myself who would be incited into jerking tears.
All in all, an underrated but good movie and a powerful performance by Viggo Mortensen and the youngster, Kodi Smit-McPhee, who played “the man”‘s precocious son excellently.
Predators – review
Cast: Adrien Brody, Alice Braga, Topher Grace
Producer: Nimrod Antal
Running time: 106 minutes (R)
I’ve been a fan of the Predator franchise since the mid 90s. Arnold schwa… swar….. shwar….. The governor of California did an absolutely amazing bang up job in the first movie released round about the same time I was born in the mid 80s. The second movie wasn’t bad either. The next two movies that included the generally terrifying creature from Aliens series, however, managed to single handedly destroy two of the greatest movie franchises though Alien vs. Predator and the subsequently pukeable AvP: Requiem which was quite aptly named for the funereal dirge that went with it!
The latest movie of the series is almost a reboot that I was fervently awaiting since I heard about it in 2007. Enter the most maniacal bad ass mercenaries there are. These mercenaries are dropped on an alien planet to be HUNTED. They are the game this time around. And the hunters? Improved Predators with only one goal: to hunt.
For those of you who haven’t followed the predator series, the predators are efficient killing machines with only one sole purpose in life: to hunt for game. Also, need I say “Please get your asses to the video store and rent Predator 1 and 2 right now or await my wrath which will shower on you like hellfire”.
Anyway, the movie is great by which I mean a ten fold improvement over the previous two disgraceful entrants viz., AvP and AvP:R. Adrien Brody does a great job as the protagonist without qualms in this movie and the rest of the cast does an even better job rallying around his character. It’s a no holds barred battle royale with only one party ruling the roost at the end!
From Paris With Love – Review
This is anything but the cliché, being hammered at with intensity, in the title! It’s not a love story unless you have a thing for high adrenaline car chases along the streets of Paris, in pursuit of bad ass terrorists committed to blow up an international summit and all those gathering for the purpose!
John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Myers (the homosexual in me goes Va Va Voom!) serve up much more than a buddy-cop story in this movie which will ensnare you in its web of intelligent deception and feisty car chases and moves that would leave most gymnasts gaping!
James Reese (Jonathan Rhys Myers), a pencil pushing desk jockey who is a wannabe Special Forces member is teamed with the Charlie Wax (Travolta), an unorthodox veteran of busting crime syndicates, terrorist cells and such. The scene: modern day Paris. The plot: Several terrorists want several politicos dead. It’s up to Reese and Wax to fix this situation with dispatch. And they do exactly with some deception thrown into the mix!
Jonathan Rhys Myers, John Travolta
Producer: Pierre Morel (of ‘Transporter’ fame)
Running time: 92 minutes (R)
Looney Looney Luna bars!
This is the story about my switch from one brand of energy bars to another with disastrously feminine results! (disastrous to me as I am a male and ‘feminine results’ are not what I am looking for to spice my life up)
‘Looney Looney Luna bars’ is a pointless short story I wrote as an exhaust for my vilifications. Enjoy! BURP
As a recreational runner, I am overly obsessive (if it is possible to be overly obsessive) about my pre-run and post-run meals, like most long distance runners are. To counteract the hundreds of calories lost during a long run lasting anywhere between 50-60 minutes, I invest a chunk of my earnings in energy bars and protein powders which are quite effective.
I was getting quite bored of my pre-run energy bar and hence I abandoned ship and changed loyalties from ‘Larabars’, which are compacted fruit bars made of dates, figs and various nuts to ‘Lunabars’, which are compacted bars made of dates, figs, nuts and nuts WITH A BETTER FLAVOR.
As I unwrapped my morning-pre-run energy bar and sank my teeth into it, I noticed something strange printed on the wrapper. CHOMP CHOMP. What is this? CHOMP CHOMP. Hellooooo!!! It said LUNABar – The whole nutrition bar FOR WOMEN!!!!!
‘What?????‘ I exclaimed!!!! ‘GASP!!!!!’ was another noteworthy verbal ejaculation. It surprised the bejesus out of me that this energy bar, that I grasped in my hand, and chomped on vigorously WAS FOR WOMEN!!! And the rascal of a store clerk never told me!!!!
My mind was in turmoil! It was like being hit hard with a battering ram that completely blows the wind out of you (along with a few rupture organs, if I am to be precise about the repercussions of being pounded by a b. ram…)
A few of the thoughts that went into my mind were: “Does this thing have estrogen?!??!?!” “Will it make my boobs bigger???” “Will there be major upheavals in my life every 28 days?!??!??!?”
“Hold on… just one cotton picking minute…. How can this bar be for women ONLY? Food cannot be gender specific, surely? I’ve had enough of this woman’s lib bullsh*t without them stealing my right to an energy bar? This is ridiculous!”
And it was ridiculous. I checked with the manufacturer. Apparently it’s marketed as a ‘for women’ product as it only has half the calories as regular high protein bars, the sexist bastard!
And thanks to this consternation, I was late for my run.
FIFA world cup 2010 – preview
Having watched football for the last 10 years, week in and week out, I was waiting for the world cup quite ardently! I had count down meters of all description strewn all over my ipod and dashboard! I had engaged is several discussions with people who would listen to me (and also those who didn’t give a rat’s ass about football)
It this post, that is tad late, I attempt at providing a bird’s eye view of all 8 groups engaged in battle royal for the coveted world cup.
Mexico, South Africa (HOSTS), France, Uruguay:
Straight of the foot, Uruguay and Mexico are clear heavy weights with an outside chance for France who are torn by internal politics and scandals and footballing non-entities. South Africa will progress only by sheer luck and stupidity of the other teams involved.
Argentina, Greece, Nigeria, South Korea:
Argentina should go through to the 2nd round while it will be a three way tussle between the rest with Greece being clear favorites as a result of their experience in such magnum opus competitions!
Algeria, England, Slovenia, United States:
My favorite group! It’s been also called Group E.A.S.Y; viz, England, Algeria, Slovenia, Yanks! England and USA are clear favorites to exit this group. ‘Nuf said!
I am personally rooting for England!
Australia, Germany, Ghana, Serbia:
Serbia are the minnows of the group with Australia, Germany and Ghana having ménage e trios on their hands! This, in my opinion, is the closest it would get to a ‘group of death’!
Cameroon, Denmark, Netherlands, Japan:
I have only one opinion about this group: Netherlands all the way – One of the underdogs to win the trophy!
Italy, New Zealand, Paraguay, Slovakia:
The Italians are 4 years older since the last world cup but they can still stifle their opponents and grind out 1-0, unspectacular wins. Can Paraguay or Slovakia pull of an upset over creaky Italian knees? Only time will tell!
Brazil, Ivory Coast, North Korea, Portugal:
Brazil is clear heavy weights if not outright favorites but they face stiff competition from the likes of Portugal who are yet to shine brilliantly. Ivory Coast would have been stronger if they hadn’t lost their talismanic striker, Didier Drogba who had over 35 goals this year alone.
Chile, Honduras, Spain, Switzerland:
Ole! Spain would definitely be on the rampage with David Villa and Torres fit and in form. With over 40 goals between the two strikers, Spain is favorites to trump the Swiss to first place in their group. The Spanish could be considered favorites.
Airport by Arthur Hailey
The book recounts 12 nervous hours in the life fictional airport ‘Lincoln International’ at Chicago and how the lives of about a dozen people collide as a result.
Mel Bakersfield (Airport General Manager),
Cindy Bakersfield (Mel’s wife),
D O Guerro (a passenger with a terrifying agenda!),
Tanya Livingston (A passenger relations officer; Mel has an affair with her),
Vernon Demerest (Captain and pilot of the flight ‘The Golden Argosy’ to Italy, and Mel’s brother-in-law),
Gwen Meighen (Senior Stewardess on board The Golden Argosy and Vernon’s mistress),
Eliott Freemantle (Lawyer with questionable ethics trying to bilk a local community that has been forever tormented by the literal din created by the airport, as a result of its proximity)
Joe Patroni (head of maintenance at the airport)
Ada Quosnett (A senior citizen and a Stowaway!)
The book is quite huge and phenomenal in detail and it’s quite a challenge to write a review without writing a book again!
Mel Bakersfield has to deal with the following in twelve long, prickly hours:
Lincoln International has been hammered by the worst snow storm in recorded history with feet of snow banks covering major runways. One such runway is Runway 30 which Joe Patroni, the heavily experienced legendary maintenance chief is trying to clear. Needless to say, air traffic has taken a bad hit!
Ada Quosnett, a senior citizen and a veteran of stowing-away on aircrafts gets herself, surreptitiously onto the ‘Golden Argosy’, a flight to Italy.
Vernon Demerest, who loathes Mel is one of the pilots of the Golden Argosy. He recently found out that his mistress, Gwen Meighen, was a few weeks pregnant with his child. The problem — he is in an emotionless marriage that he wants to break away from but doesn’t want to have a child either!
Tanya Livingston is ‘Trans America Airline’s passenger relations and she has a thing for Mel which is not unrequited! She is also an intelligent, savvy person and can deal with difficult people and difficult situations.
D O Guerrero is a failed building contractor. His family is impecunious. He hatches a plan, a nasty one! He plans on boarding the ‘Golden Argosy’ and blow it to smithereens once it’s in the air. The resulting insurance money (provided that the reason for the explosion goes undetected) would help his penurious family.
As all this is going on, Eliott Freemantle, a scheming lawyer has a demonstration right in the airport.
The book recounts Mel Bakerfield’s reaction to 12 hours of shear suspense which include a philandering wife, feet of snow on an important run way, a mid air explosion gone wrong, picketing by the lawyer, his own brother’s suicidal tendency, a stowaway and not to mention, a pregnancy!
In short: Yes, the bomb does go off.
No, the aircraft doesn’t crash but is close to it!
Yes, Cindy Bakersfield has an affair and Mel and Cindy split by mutual consent.
Yes, Eliott Freemantle, the corrupt lawyer is defeated as a result of Mel’s glib recollection of several proceedings from the court of law.
No, the end isn’t entirely happy. Neither is it tragic. Just complete.
Every time I think of an airport, several details that I was completely oblivious to before I read the book seem obvious to me! This is a delightful foray into the internal workings and those of customs officers, lawyers, maintenance men, police officers, not to mention politically motivated ‘people’ and crisis management teams that goes on in an airport and best known to us, ‘weary travelers’!
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Abduction by Robin Cook
A scientific research deep sea drilling team drills into an underwater volcano except that it isn’t a volcano at all!
Perry Bergman (President of Benthic marine), Suzanne (Oceanographer), Donald (ex-navy), Michael (ex-naval diver who was thrown out the Navy as a result of more than a few transgressions), Richard (same story as Michael!)
Benthic marine is an exploration and drilling vessel which sends a team down to investigate an underwater oceanographic anomaly. They expect to find an underwater volcano but when the team approaches the said anomaly, they get sucked into a seemingly bottomless pit into a dystopian world where there are ‘people’ living. Really beautiful people, physically and mentally -A utopia. They call their land ‘interterra‘.
The interterrans are supposedly the ‘first’ race of humans ever who moved underground and underwater to escape a predicament that awaited the dinosaurs and such. So, having a leg up on the ‘second generation humans’, the interterran’s technology far exceeds the wildest imagination of the drilling team.
The interterrans welcome the unexpected guests and bestow on them all the pleasures of life that could be imaginable. They come to realize the very many fascinating advances in science that the interterrans have made. For instance, they’ve somehow perfected the human body to sustain several centuries without severe debilitation. And if the human body were to wither away, the ‘essence’ of the body would be captured and injected into another body, a next life.
However, what dawns on our team of intrepid scientists and ex-navy soldiers that they are prisoners in a gilded cage. The interterrans have no intention of letting them go back to the surface as that would give away this secret and given the belligerent nature of us, the second generation humans, it would only bring war, terror and despair to interterra.
The unwilling participants, except Suzanne (who decides to remain in Interterra), somehow contrive an escape by taking a few of the interterrans hostage. This leads to the interterran government eventually realizing that they couldn’t stop the escaping second generation humans and hence ‘send them back’.
But where exactly do they ‘send them back’? Little do Perry Bergman, Donald, Michael and Richard know that although they’ve escaped the underwater gilded prison, they are in for a humongous surprise when they do figure out what they’ve swapped interterra for!
A must read for fans of Robin Cook. This is the first time the american author has deviated from medical mysteries and has done a good job at that!
Robin Cook does an amazing job with creating the dystopian utopia, Interterra and the trials, tribulations and psychological effect it has on all characters.
Book: Abduction (2000)
Author: Robin Cook
- Article written by Sir Pumpkin Longshanks. The name may sound funny and weird and it spills over his character too. He prefers to keep his identity secret and we respect his choice. Want to read more of his articles ? Click HERE.
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Pandorum – Review
Payton: Played by Dennis Quaid. Lieutenant on board the sleeper ship Elysium who awakens from hyper sleep in an obfuscated state.
Bower: Played magnificently by Ben Foster. Corporal and ship engineer who awakens from hyper sleep equally confused as Payton. Plus, he escapes being devoured many a time along the way!
Director: Christian Alvart (First ever movie in English)
Release Date: 25 Sep 2009
Running Time: 108 min (R for strong horror violence and language)
Being a fan of the science fiction horror genre and particularly those that employ the least amount of on-screen personnel, I found ‘Pandorum’ to be absolutely fantastic!
The movie chronicles a few tense (presumably) hours after two astronauts, Foster and Payton, awaken from long suspended animation to find that they are the part of a handful of survivors from an otherwise full complement of 60,000 of crew members.
They are on the sleeper ship Elysium that had been launched into outer (real outer!) space to land on, terra-form and populate the earth-like planet, Tannis as a result of earth having an over-burgeoning population of over 23 billion which caused severe scarcity of resources, in the latter part of the 22nd century.
But where have all the crew members disappeared? How many centuries have they been stranded for, in the far outer reaches of space?
It transpires through convoluted flashbacks and exchanges between the only 6 crew members that they were to be the first team to land on the planet Tannis – The first team of Earthlings that would set up a colony for others to follow. There was no return. They had with them the entire species of a planet in test tubes, quite literally. But then why hasn’t their mission control tried to contact them? Why they were not revived from hyper sleep?
The devastating truth that dawns on them is that they are the ONLY team of earthlings alive and awake after prolonged hyper sleep that has left them with classic symptoms of ‘Pandorum’ which include severe paranoia, vivid hallucinations and homicidal tendencies.
Several questions are answered along the way: their identities, their mission, the fate of earth, the fact that most of the crew was devoured by eerie, cannibalistic, creatures. The actual and startling identity of these murderous, blood thirsty creatures….
….And that there are not 6 people awake. Only 5. So who is the sixth person?
….And that they had spent well over a century in hyper sleep….
…..And that the Earth had long ceased to exist….
…..And that they aren’t where they thought they are after all….
Ambush – 55 Fiction
He had reached the enemy camp.
His palms were sweating. He had no backup.
They were all dead.
It was no or never!
He was armed to his teeth.
He made a swift move into the camp. He turned the corner.
And his computer crashed. He had to get a better computer to continue this game.
This 55 fiction format story is written by Sir Pumpkin Longshanks.
For more about 55 fiction click here
At 2am Katherine is out on the patio. Her father comes out,and presents her with a bottle of Champagne.
“Happy Birthday… can’t sleep?”
“Thanks dad! No I can’t”
“The best thing to do at such times is mathematical proofs”
“Why don’t we do it together like old times?”
“I could but…”
The above 55 fiction is based on David Auburn’s brilliant play “Proof“. I had the good fortune of seeing this on stage on Friday and strongly recommend the book of the same name.
The play follows a somewhat non-linear time line chronicling the life and death of a brilliant mathematician, Robert and his somewhat brilliant daughter Katherine; some of the man’s brilliance did rub off onto his daughter, you see!
Robert dies of an undisclosed mental illness and the story starts of on the eve of his funeral. Although considered a stark-raving mad man in the last months of his life, it is little known to many people except Katherine and his favorite graduate student Harold that Robert was in fact working on a mathematical proof that would revolutionize the field forever.
You really don’t have to know what a prime number is, even, to watch this play or read the book for it is a roller coaster ride through emotions while laced with shades of dark humor!
This 55 fiction format story is written by Sir Pumpkin Longshanks.
For more about 55 fiction click here